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Wait-times for NHS hernia operations - a look at the evidence.


This paper shows the stark reality of the current backlog of NHS operations as a result of COVID19. There was a 38.6% reduction in elective surgery in 2020.


Facts that we know at the time of writing (July 2021):  

      We expect around 4.6 Million operations to be done in the UK in a normal (pre-pandemic) year.

      There are currently 5.3 million
 operations on the NHS waiting list.  

      Health Minister Sajid Javid has warned that this could increase to 13 Million by the end of 2021.




Photo by Jafar Ahmed on Unsplash


There is at best at least 1 year's worth of operations in this backlog and we can assume that operating on a person whose surgery has been delayed introduces added complications as their surgical outcome cannot be as good (the 'stitch in time saves nine' principal). This is particularly relevant with elective hernia surgery as we know hernias tend to get worse over time and elective hernia surgery will be towards the back of the queue relative to more pressing surgical operations.

Is it realistic to expect an already busy National Health Service to do this within months? Sadly not, NHS leaders consider 5 years to be more likely and this may be an underestimate as there are other demographic trends (aging population, obesity, NHS recruitment ) that impact this figure.

 

 

 

 

 

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